The term homophobia refers to a set of negative feelings towards people who engage in same sex relationships (homosexuals and lesbians). In most cases, homophobic people are usually heterosexuals.
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Homophobia is expressed in various forms including hatred, prejudice and discrimination among others. The worst forms of homophobia are the stigmatization and isolation or exclusion of homosexuals and lesbians from the society (Rothenberg, 2009).
Sexism on the other hand is the discrimination of people based on their sex. The discrimination may take the form of inequality between males and females in a society, where men can have more power than women.
Sexism can be institutionalized and when this happens, women are discriminated in various fields such as in management, education, politics and the economy, where by men dominate the most rewarding jobs leaving women to do the less rewarding jobs. Even in situations where men and women do the same jobs, the men are given a better payment than the women (Rothenberg, 2009).
Homophobia is a form of sexism because it is based on the principle of intolerance to a particular sex and sexual orientation. With homophobia, heterosexual men fear or hate lesbian women due to the belief that the lesbian women may reduce the opportunities for men to have women as sexual partners.
A good example to illustrate this is a male homophobic manager of an organization. This particular manager may not be in peace working with or employing lesbian women. Homophobia and sexism have been classified as hate crimes in the United States
In a society, there are two groups of people. They include the dominant and the subordinate groups. A dominant group is defined as the most powerful group in a society. This group enjoys the highest social status and has access to unlimited privileges. A subordinate group refers to a group of people within a society who due to their physical and social characteristics are singled out for unfair treatment.
This group is also subjected to various forms of discrimination by the dominant group. The defining criteria in the formation of the two groups include race, ethnicity and skin color.
Others include colonization, migration and annexation. In the United States, the dominant groups are characterized by skin color and ethnicity. Basically, the White Americans are classified as the dominant group. Their ethnicities include British, Germans, Norwegians, Irish, French, the Dutch and Polish (Rothenberg, 2009).
They are categorized as the dominant group because they were the ones who played a major role in the attainment of American Independence form the Great Britain. They are also very rich, highly educated and enjoy a high social status. They also do white color jobs and always hold positions of leadership in political, social and economic spheres (Rothenberg, 2009).
The subordinate group comprise the African Americans, the Asian Americans, Latin Americans, Spanish and Jewish Americans. These are the people whose skin color is different from that of the White Americans. They are not as economically stable as the White Americans. In most cases, they do casual jobs especially in the plantations, factories, airlines and in the hospitality sector.
One example of how the two groups have an impact on each other is their economic relationship. The dominant group owns the means of production. As a result, it usually employs the subordinate group to do the casual jobs as the dominant group takes the leadership and management positions in various sectors of the economy.
Another example is intermarriages. Due to differences in social status, education and wealth, members from each group usually intermarry, that is, members of the dominant group marry from the dominant group while members of the subordinate group marry from the subordinate group.
Due to this, the differences between them are sustained. However, the intermarriage between White Americans and other Americans has reduced the levels of discrimination and prejudice among the two groups (Rothenberg, 2009).
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Rothenberg, P.S. (2009). Race, class, and gender in the United States. (8th Edn). Walton: Mac higher publishers.